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“Rural Customs in ‘The Specialist.’” Paper Presented at the Seventieth Annual Meeting of the Texas Folklore Society, Jefferson Texas, March 28, 1986

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt and Kira E. Mort University of North Texas Press PDF

Rural Customs in “The Specialist”

[Paper presented at the Seventieth Annual Meeting of the Texas Folklore Society, Jefferson Texas,

March 28, 1986]

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Periodically I stumble across an old piece of vaudeville-style humor bogged down in the morass of my office files under the “Miscellaneous” label. I always discover it with pleasure and surprise, as if

I’ve found an old friend of my youth. It is Chic Sale’s classic “The

Specialist,” and I read it again with laughter and run off copies to send around to my friends, some of whom remind me that I sent them copies on my last discovery. “The Specialist” is two-generations-old outhouse humor, so a truly appreciative audience, one with first-hand experience with this venerable institution, becomes increasingly hard to find.

One reason for my continuing enjoyment of this semi-scatalogical outhouse humor is that it was an indelible part of my own growing up, not only because it was there that I first discovered strange and what turned out to be everlasting internal murmurings as I studied the ladies’ underwear section in the Sears & Roebuck Catalog, but as it figured in other dramatic incidents during what I considered then to be very uneventful times.

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Preface to Built in Texas, PTFS XLII, 1979

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt and Kira E. Mort University of North Texas Press PDF

Preface (In which the editor reflects upon his perambulations and peregrinations)

[from Built in Texas, PTFS XLII, 1979]

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He was right, you know. You must be born again—and again and again, ad infinitum, or at least ad cemeterium. Those who aren’t periodically reborn are like the snake who fails to shed his skin and is eventually squeezed to death by the narrowness of his old confines.

Archer Fullingim, the ex-editor of The Kountze News, is a professed born-again Big Thicketite. Periodically he flings himself off into the wilderness of the Big Thicket and splashes around in Village

Creek and wades through bay galls and pin-oak flats, and the Holy

Ghost of the Big Thicket (and elsewhere, of course) takes a Pentecostal possession of him. He is born again and he talks in tongues that are almost as strange as some of his brass-collar-Democrat ravings. He rolls holily in the Thicket grasses and leaves, and he shakes and quakes through spasms of love and communion until he sheds his old, city skin and is born again to a new identification with the

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Prefaces to the histories: The Texas Folklore Society: 1909–1943, Volume I, PTFS LI, 1992

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt and Kira E. Mort University of North Texas Press PDF

Preface: In which the author attempts to justify his verbosity and the length of this history

[from The Texas Folklore Society: 1909–1943, Volume I,

PTFS LI, 1992]

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This book had a beginning that was simple enough, almost accidental. At the end of the 1984 Huntsville business meeting, Jack

Duncan and John O. West asked that all the Society’s programs be published in some upcoming miscellany. This was a simple enough request. They wanted to know what folklore topics members had been interested in and had been talking about since that first TFS gathering in 1911. When I returned to the Society’s office I immediately set Marlene Adams, then the TFS secretary, to typing up all past TFS meeting programs for inclusion in the next PTFS.

The stack of programs made an impressive list and one that activated the typing of another list, the tables of contents of PTFSs that followed the programs. I was prompted to making this second list because I wanted to know the relation of the publications’ contents to the meetings’ contents.

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“When You Call Me That, Smile! or Folklore, Ethology, and Communication.” T for Texas: A State Full of Folklore, PTFS XLIV, 1982

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt and Kira E. Mort University of North Texas Press PDF

When You Call Me That, Smile!

Or Folklore, Ethology, and Communication

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It was now the Virginian’s turn to bet or throw in his cards, and he did not speak at once.

Therefore Trampas spoke. “Your bet, you son of a _______!”

The Virginian’s pistol came out, and his hand lay on the table, holding it unaimed. And with a voice as gentle as ever, the voice that sounded almost like a caress, but drawling a very little more than usual, so that there was almost a space between each word, he issued his orders to the man Trampas: “When you call me that, smile!”

The Virginian by Owen Wister

The basic premise for this paper is that much of folklore is a cultural response to genetically implanted behavior patterns which man holds in common with all his animal kinsmen, and that communication is one form of this folklore.

The Ethological Approach

Our physiological kinship with the rest of the animal kingdom is amply supported by a study of evolution and comparative anatomy. Our behavioral relationship, the study of which is ethology, is equally supported by an observation of the basic drives or instincts that most animals hold in common—those of sociality, dominance, territoriality, and sexuality. Man’s folklore is his cultural response to these drives. For example, the customs and traditions and religious beliefs which a group holds in common enforce the sociality drive, or herding instinct, and bind them together in a strong, survivable unit. The dominance drive for the establishment of a pecking order is illustrated in all folk contests and in folk tales of Hercules and

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“Snakelore.” Paper Presented at the Eighty-Second Annual Meeting of the Texas Folklore Society, Sherman, Texas, April 10, 1998

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt and Kira E. Mort University of North Texas Press PDF

Snakelore

[Paper presented at the Eighty-Second Annual

Meeting of the Texas Folklore Society, Sherman, Texas,

April 10, 1998]

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And the serpent said unto the woman, “Ye shall surely not die [from eating of the tree of knowledge]; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Soon thereafter, however, God discovers their transgression and asks the man, “Who told thee that thou was naked?”

And shamelessly the man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”

And the woman blamed it on the serpent: “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.”

And God put a mighty curse on the serpent: “Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, and they shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise their heel.”

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